Sunday, March 6, 2011

Microbial Doom! Part II...

In the shortest story ever told, Cassandra and Svetsky are saved!
A recent conjugation (sex) with some neighbors had given them a plasmid* on which a gene existed to breakdown this antibiotic.
Within 4 minutes, the enzyme was all over their system and they could now live happily in the new antibiotic which had taken the humans 20 years to discover!
Long live the microbes!

Plasmid* - a round piece of DNA that can easily be copied and transfered from one bacterial cell to another. Usually these plasmids contain useful genes that microbes like to share. For example, a gene which allows the cell to make an enzyme which can breakdown a toxin or antibiotic.

Can you imagine if humans could adapt and evolve that fast?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Microbial Doom! Part I...

Cassandra and Svetsky found themselves in a terrifying position when the humans discovered a new antibiotic...

Can they survive? Will they survive???

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The best kind of sex*

*Sex - an exchange of genetic material... by means of a pilus**.

** Sex Pilus - a thin, hairlike protrusion extending from one bacteria to another for conjugation (that means sex).

Microbial Gluttony

Microautoradiography - a technique whereby radioactively labeled microbe food (like glucose) is added to a sample to determine which microbes take it up and emit radioactive decay particles.

How much of the compound a microbial cell eats is visible by how much radioactivity it emits. Under the microscope, I can see that the microbe on the right is gluttonous. The others either didn't like the compound I added, or they couldn't use it.
Tell everyone you know.